MILWAUKEE — In less than three hours, the jury in the trial of Theodore Edgecomb found the 32-year-old guilty of 1st degree reckless homicide Wednesday in a Milwaukee County courtroom.
Reckless homicide was a lesser included charge within the original 1st degree intentional homicide for the September 2020 shooting near Milwaukee’s Brady Street that took 54-year-old Jason Cleereman’s life.
Leading up to and during the trial, Edgecomb’s attorney claimed that he acted in self defense. But during Tuesday’s proceedings, Edgecomb took the stand in his own defense and seemed to say the shooting was accidental, saying “the firearm just went off.”
Court TV Correspondent and analyst Joy Lim-Nakrin believes that may have played a role in the guilty verdict.
“I would say that most legal analysts believe that it did have some sort of impact on the verdict, because the defense was really strategic in building the argument of self defense," Nakrin said.
Nakrin says defense attorney B’Ivory Lamar spent much of his time during closing arguments clearing up their client’s testimony.
“He actually had to spend a lot of closing arguments kind of cleaning up that discrepancy. Explaining to the jury how this defendant could claim it was an accident and yet claim it was also self defense.”
Ultimately, the guilty verdict could send Edgecomb to prison for 60 years.
Cleereman’s family released a statement saying they are mourning Jason’s death, but are comforted that they believe justice was served in this case.
Edgecomb's legal team released the following statement Wednesday night:
Today's verdict was disappointing for our team, as we have worked tirelessly to exonerate Theodore Edgecomb. We maintain that Mr. Edgecomb did in fact act in self-defense. This was a complex case, yet many concerns were raised throughout the trial that are under review and may result in an appeal.